Some of you may be thinking, “...but I don’t have time to exercise!” I hear you, and I understand! Let’s talk about a few tips for getting started and integrating exercise into your regular routine, without stressing out about your to-do list or trying to add more time into each day.
I recommend that you check with your medical doctor before trying any of these suggestions, and before starting anything new.
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We all know that there are many health benefits of regular physical activity.
Some common examples of physical activity include:
walking, running, swimming, playing sports and lifting weights.
The American Heart Association’s recommendations for physical activity for overall cardiovascular health is as follows:
at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150 minutes
or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes
or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity
Recommendations for physical activity can seem overwhelming
Although that is good information and very detailed, it does seem a bit overwhelming. I can just imagine the expression on your faces right now and also imagine some of the questions that may be going through your minds.
“What is considered moderate intensity versus vigorous intensity?”
Some of you might be stressing out over the 3 days per week versus 5 days per week.
It might just make you think about all of the things you have going on during every week and feel like…yet one more thing to add to your to-do list.
Let's break it down
So…let’s break that cycle of thoughts really quickly and break this down into something that feels and is more relatable.
First, think about it like this, if you’re not already engaged in physical activity on a regular basis, then starting anything at all will be better than stressing about whether or not you can hit that 30 minute mark 5 days a week.
I do think it’s important to understand what the recommendations are so that you can set a goal, but beyond that…. start with a practical approach.
Start right where you are, with small steps, and then work your way up.
Here are a few tips for starting right now
Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you have the choice.
If you’re using the For My Health Today Journal, you can enter that as your positive action step for the day. You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference this can make.
Is this true for you? Sometimes we pause and think about whether or not to take the stairs, then talk ourselves out of it so fast! We then turn the other direction and wait for the elevator instead.
I remember doing this at work years ago. Honestly, I started by taking the stairs down, but riding the elevator up. LOL It felt like I was taking the super easy route. However, it was a start!
Later, I began to take the stairs both ways and could start to feel the difference in my legs after a while. I also noticed that it became easier to do over time which gave me a huge confidence boost.
So, don’t despise small beginnings!
Another tip is to park your car toward the back of the parking lot at work, when shopping, restaurants, or just anywhere you are looking to park your car.
Instead of circling around and looking for the closest spot, just park toward the end of the row and get a few steps in.
You’ll be surprised to see how much those extra steps can add up.
You will be able to feel the difference, especially when you realize how much easier you’re able to get from the parking lot to the building.
Trying multitasking with your time.
For example, if you have busy kids who are at sports practice, or music lessons, tutoring, or some place that you’re taking them to and have to wait on them while they participate in an activity.
Instead of sitting and waiting and catching up on phone calls or social media, compromise and use some of that time to take a walk.
It could be a simple short walk for 5 or 10 minutes while you wait.
Who knows, you might be able to take a walk and catch up on a few phone calls at the same time!
When you attend meetings via webinars, or conference calls, take advantage of that time to move around during those meetings instead of just sitting at your desk.
Sometimes you can walk in place. (depending on your surroundings)
Try using your mobile device and earbuds and take a walk while you listen to the call. (good if you don’t need to take notes or speak during the meeting)
Use simple hand weights and do arm exercises, yoga moves, or jump on a stationary bike or elliptical or treadmill during the meeting.
Hopefully those ideas will help some of you get started, and even start to think of other ways to integrate a bit of physical activity into your regular routine.
Don’t worry about going from zero to ideal goal overnight. Just start small. Use the For My Health Today Journal to help you track the progress you’re making and encourage you to continue move forward with more steps and actions that will help you improve your health, starting right now….today.
Alright everyone, until next time…have a fantastic rest of your day!